SOME of the best police work in the county is being done “behind the scenes”, and Superintendent Sue Thomas wants to put that work up front.
The new head of Herefordshire division says partnership initiatives like offender management and tackling troubled families make differences rather than headlines.
But within these partnerships lie long term solutions to the county’s crime issues, she says.
Partnerships, says Supt Thomas, have the potential to make the public as much a part of policing as police officers and CSOs on the street in addressing “who presents risk, who’s at risk, and where is the risk.”
Licensing is arguably the most obvious of example of partnership achievement, particularly work done between police, council and licensees over recent years to reduce drink related disorder and violence.
In October last year, one scheme, Bottletop, was cited as setting a national example as to how rehabilitation could work as a follow-up to banning orders.
Coming to increasing attention is the Integrated Offender Management (IMO) programme which has police working with a range of other agencies and organisations to turn the county’s most active criminals away from crime.
A similar approach is being adopted to “troubled” families with success so far seen as a base to build on.
In February, Louise Casey, head of the Government’s troubled families programme, visited the county to praise the programme that, 18 months into its three year run is assisting 278 families across the county with success marked by such measures as children regularly attending school and cuts to youth crime.
Supt Thomas takes charge of a division that has seen significant falls in most categories of offending. A recent audit of the division found officers taking “pride and inspiration” in their work.
Her impression, based on previous time in the division under various ranks, is of similar qualities within partner organisations.
Today (Monday) a report from the Herefordshire Community Safety Partnership- presented to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee - showed the county generally has a lower rate of crime per head of
Population than across England and Wales – 49 offences per 1,000 people compared to the average 64 per 1,000.
ut while total recorded crime was decreasing, the scale of decrease was slower than that across England and Wales, albeit from the likelihood of a lower statistical starting base.
Sexual offences saw a “considerable” increase over the past two years, but this is put down to the reporting of historic allegations.
The rate of sexual offences per head of population in the county is slightly above that nationally.
Domestic violence and drug offences were also recognised as issues, with the latter increasing at a far greater rate than any other crime.
Offending related to a anti-social behaviour is falling, but the number of such incidents recorded by police remained “quite large” with 7,900 - or 15% of all incidents - over 2012-13.